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Topic: TEARS - (as in crying) (10/04/04)
TITLE: PRECIOUS MEMORIES
By Kenny Paul Clarkson
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These are sacred moments. Broken hearts fail to search for words but speak, instead, through tender tears and muted tones; each tear a solemn testimony of love and every sigh a precious memory.
Look, if you will, at the Nebraska countryside. Feel the breeze and see wind swept fields of grain surrender in billowing waves.
Time stands still, but for the moment.
There is a schoolhouse standing there at the bend in the road. Its windows gone; absent shingles and grayed clapboard speak of other times long ago. A chalkboard still bears remnant words, though faded, scrawled by small hands of the past. And listen, if you will, to resonate sounds echoing from years gone by; hear her chanting childhood songs in the playground; repeating verbs at the stern bequest of the school marm. The pig tails, the ink well; the bully who went one step too far. A raven rests on the bell tower, and your mind awakens to the present. She is no longer there.
There is a barn down the road; majestic is its very presence in the afternoon sun. A fiddle plays. You can hear it if you try. A washtub adds rhythm to banjos and strumming guitars. Laughter fills the air and lanterns cast shadows of merrymakers dancing, twirling in the cool autumn evening. There is cider aplenty. Again, she is there. Pigtails have fallen to flowing brown hair and the freckled face girl has blossomed. A mighty oak defies the glow of yellow harvest moon with darkened shadows spread across an open field. She leans against the tree where Artimus Brown steels a kiss on the sly. No one sees, beyond the eyes of your mind.
You look again at the polished white stone standing nearby; its finely etched words bear memory of Papa Brown. Another white stone will soon be placed by its side.
Beyond the barn is a white house; a windmill twirls and a pick-up truck graces a graveled drive. The tractor is in the barn and a baby is in the arms of a young mother. More will come and share roasted turkey, black-eyed peas, Christmas gifts and birthdays. Strong hands turn to dab at tears and offer care to bruised knees. The voices change. The children grow and a house once warmed by hugs and heartaches is now hallowed by precious memories. And upon its walls and mantles a thousand photos cling to their special places. They are remnants of those precious memories that cling the hearts of loved ones.
The preacher opens a book. "Ashes to ashes." The words are heard, but no one really listens.
So that is life. Seems sully, even insignificant. Is that all there is?
One final rose is laid. Such a shallow token; a poor exchange for memories. But it was the love, you know, that made it worth the while.
And where are you?
Somewhere between the schoolhouse and a white etched stone we live our lives, even today, creating precious memories for those we love.